LTA publishes report from Independent Review into events at Wrexham Tennis Centre

25/01/2019

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The LTA has today published the report produced by the wide-ranging Independent Review we commissioned into events at Wrexham Tennis Centre following the conviction and subsequent imprisonment of their former Head Coach in July 2017.

The report was commissioned by the LTA as part of our ongoing commitment to raising standards in safeguarding across our sport. Its purpose was to consider the lessons that should be learnt, ensure that any failings are not repeated in future, and provide recommendations to improve and strengthen safeguarding procedures across tennis as a whole.

In summary, the report concludes that Wrexham Tennis Centre failed properly to address a number of historic complaints made about the behaviour of coaches at the Centre, including the former Head Coach. The Wrexham Tennis Centre internal investigation carried out in 2012 was found to be insufficient and serious concerns raised by parents and coaches were not adequately addressed at the time or subsequently. Tennis Wales and the LTA are both found to have failed properly to recognise the safeguarding concerns that should have been evident at the time and to have acted inadequately in failing to initiate proper proceedings against the Head Coach prior to his arrest in 2017.

First and foremost, we are concerned that opportunities to act were missed and we are sincerely sorry for this. We want to reassure those affected and everyone else involved in our sport that lessons have been learnt from Wrexham. We are confident that if a similar situation arose today it would be handled differently and more effectively, and we are pleased that the Review recognises this in its report.

‘Putting safeguarding at the heart of our organisation’

The LTA is determined to put safeguarding at the heart of our organisation, and are implementing improvements to safeguarding policies, procedures and training provision. However, there is always room for further improvement. We have set out a clear vision for safeguarding - by 2020, we want British Tennis to be at the forefront of safeguarding in sport.

Commenting following the publication of the report, Scott Lloyd, LTA CEO said:

"Everyone should be able to enjoy tennis in a safe and inclusive environment and as the governing body of tennis we have a responsibility to keep children and vulnerable adults safe from harm. The LTA is committed to having the best safeguarding procedures possible at every level of the game, but in this case the actions taken were clearly not enough. I am deeply concerned that opportunities to act were missed and we apologise to all those affected regarding this case.

"Over the last two years, the LTA has undertaken a root and branch review of safeguarding in tennis, which included commissioning this Independent Review, and we have launched a new safeguarding strategy, led by newly recruited safeguarding experts. The Review states that many positive changes have already been made by the LTA, but we recognise there is more to be done. We will ensure that the LTA, together with Tennis Wales and Wrexham Tennis Centre takes all necessary action required to implement the Review recommendations in full. The LTA will redouble our efforts to raise safeguarding standards in tennis and ensure that clubs nationwide set and uphold the highest standards possible in this area."

Specialised support and assistance for any children who were coached at Wrexham Tennis Centre between 2012 and 2017 has been available throughout this process and continues to be so. Any individual who wishes to make use of this support is urged to contact the LTA Safeguarding Team on 020 8487 7000 or at safeguarding@lta.org.uk.  

The Independent Review’s full report. the terms of reference and the LTA’s Safeguarding Strategy are available via the links below.

The LTA's safeguarding system is audited by the NSPCC's Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU) every year, and in each of the last three years we have received the green light standard. We continue to work closely with the CPSU to make sure we have best in class procedures in place.

Should you wish to know more about our safeguarding work, access our safeguarding resources or find out how you can report a concern, visit our safeguarding in tennis page

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